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Old 01-08-04, 10:17 AM
Wheel1975 Wheel1975 is offline
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The Other side of the coin - Elizabethizme

Quote:
Originally posted by elizabethizme
It is obvious that ADD is an extremely difficult "thing" (syndrome, affliction - what is the best thing to call it without being politically incorrect) to live with. I would never dream of minimizing the feelings and problems that arise from having ADD.

On the other side of the coin, it is important for the ADDers to try to understand that their having ADD affects many people around them - spouses, co-workers, employers, family, etc.

It is great that the non-ADD spouses have a forum to share some of their issues and thoughts on the matter but it would also be nice to have a journaling area like the ADDers. It would help me enourmously if I could just share my thoughts on my day-to-day life with my ADD husband. It could help other non-ADD spouses relate and it may help ADDers understand the frustration of the non-ADD spouses. I often feel that my husband and I are in a battle of who is hurting more. And believe me, as a non-ADD spouse, I am hurting.

I know my husband reads and participates in these forums - I brought him here. It is a good place for him to vent and share since he does not do that with anyone in his life. Maybe he will see my words in a different light - maybe not.

I noticed something "different" early on in our marriage. I attributed these things to various reasons which are not important to mention here. Our communication was difficult, he had difficulty being affectionate, he was a man of routine, he was forgetful, he was a procrastinator, he was disorganized, he was a pack rat, to name a few.

I stuggled with many of these issues but we were newly married, had a child within a couple of years and life was busy. I was always a take-charge type of person so things fell into place a certain way and we were both happy to just let them flow the way they did. We were too busy to notice the lack of balance. I often made excuses as to why I was doing more - he played ball, he had a demanding job, he had unreasonable deadlines at work, etc. But in the back of my mind, something always nagged me about his behaviour.

Arguments were always about the same thing and like many couples, we fell in the rut of always fighting the same way thus nothing ever changed. I have a strong personality and speak my mind; my husband has always preferred to lay low and dislikes conflict of any kind. The more I would get angry, the more he would retreat. The more he would retreat, the more I would get angry.

My biggest issue was the lack of intimacy. My husband hardly ever went to bed at the same time as me. He had a routine at night that helped him relax after a long day. He would smoke a cigar and have a couple of beers. It didn't matter that he was now married, that routine was important to him. So I went to bed by myself about five nights out of seven for many, many years. It certainly affected the intimacy factor.

Throughout those years many of the household responsibilities fell on me. I took care of the finances. I planned all vacations. I took care of the house. I took care of repairs. I took care of our social life. I planned holidays. I planned parties. I helped with his work. I'm not going to say that I did it all but I certainly did a lot. The keyword here is planning. Seeing the whole picture was not a strong point of his. And, throughout all of this I started a small business, I went back to school for a seven-month program, I was a full-time mom and eventually I opened a print shop.

About four years ago I read, for the first time, Driven to Distraction. I don't quite remember why I picked up this book. I read something about ADD and there was a mention of this book and something seemed to fit. Within the first few paragraphs of reading the book, I realized he had ADD. I remember bringing it up to him but it didn't go anywhere.

After two and a half years, I decided to close my print shop. There were many reasons but primarily there was simply too much stress in my life. Too much to do. My husband, after years of struggling with one job, had been offered another. We knew that if he remained at the old job, we would end up divorced.

I stayed home the first few months after closing my storefront. I started rollerblading and listening to tapes. I took out the audio version of Driven to Distraction and listened to it again. I was convinced my husband had ADD and I brought it up again. He did finally listen to the tapes while commuting to work. I had to ask him what he thought and he said that some things sounded like him but others didn't. That was the end of it.

I continued to read every thing I could on the subject. I found web sites and discussion groups. I joined one Internet discussion group for non-ADD spouses and was thrilled to find other people who were living what I was living. It wasn't just me. This was a high-volume list and I had a hard time keeping up with all the messages. Unfortunately, I found that many of the spouses simply wanted to vent and were more interested in bashing their spouses than finding support. At this point, I was on a mission to find my husband help and I refused to believe that this was the way it was going to be forever. I continued to bring up the ADD with my husband and he continued to ignore my theories. I don't blame him. It was a typical ADD reaction - he was simply overwhelmed with his life and adding one more thing was simply not a possibility.

My research has been an eye-opener. I know now it is not as simple as telling him to change. He can't change. His brain does not work like mine. Sure, we are all different and we all do things differently but it has been shown that ADD brains do not work the same as the brains of non-ADDers. That doesn't mean that he is destined to be this way for the rest of his life. Yes. it does mean exactly that. What it doesn't mean is that his "net performance" in the world has to stay the same. Him changing is not the ONLY thing available to improve the situation. Am I still being unclear about the distinction I'm trying to draw here? There are options to help make his life easier. There are coaches. There is therapy. There are books to read to help understand. But because an ADDer feels overwhelmed at all times, it is absurd to think that they can just pick up and do these things.

Unfortunately, as the spouse of an ADDer, I was beginning to feel like a caregiver. Constantly holding his hand to get him to do anything. In turn, he was feeling like I was a nag. Someone who constantly criticized him. He felt I was taking away his self-esteem and confidence. It is a vicious circle with both partners hurting and wanting to show that they are hurting more than the other. At first I was resentful of all the things I was doing to sustain the marriage and the household but lately I am starting to realize that the biggest issue was the lack of intimacy. Is this because of the ADD or simply because he has had only one other relationship before me? I don't know. All I do know is that I need to feel loved. I need to feel desired. I need to feel wanted (other than to do household chores) and I need to feel an intellectual connection. I have told him numerous times that I feel lonelier now than I did when I was single.

I am one who very much believes that each partner must give 100% of themselves in a marriage. Not 50-50 but 100% from each all of the time. When you marry you take on certain responsibilities in regards to your partner. You must make them feel loved. You must be there for them. You must make them feel safe. You must be aware of their needs. You must listen to their feelings. I will promptly say that, lately, I have not been able to do most of those things. Mostly because I feel that I have been doing this more than my husband has towards me. I feel much resentment about having to ask to be loved.

My husband finally went to his family doctor after my insistence almost two years ago. He was referred to a psychotherapist who did not immediately diagnose him with ADD. He said he had many of the behaviours but he wasn't convinced. He still prescribed Ritalin. That didn't work too well for my husband so he was given Dexedrine. He has continued to see his doctor every few weeks to get a renewal on the prescription. That's about it. No therapy and no coaching. When my husband asked for some references for some books or web sites, the doctor replied "Why don't you go to the library or get on the Net yourself." Quite the ironic answer to someone with ADD. He eventually told my husband there was not doubt in his mind that he had ADD.

In the meantime I continued on my quest to learn as much as I could. I often mentioned the things I found to my husband but it was never enough to get him to read or visit a web site. I read many books and pointed out some behaviour that were issues in our marriage. Instead of discussing these in depth and referring to the material I had found, his reaction was to tell me that now I was a know-it-all. All I wanted was to help him. All I wanted was for him to try to understand how ADD was affecting him and our relationship. All I wanted was to help save our marriage.

I found these forums over a year ago. I didn't post too often but I read as much as I could. It helps to see both sides - ADDers and non-ADD spouses. I know that understanding what ADD is and does is a big step in helping oneself - whether you have ADD or are the non-ADD spouse. I suggested to my husband that he spend some time every week going over the forums. Months went by and nothing. In the meantime, our relationship was deterioating faster than it had in the previous few years. I will take the blame for it. I am simply exhausted from trying so hard. I know I am not responsible for him. I also know that as a spouse it is your responsibility to be there for your partner. I have been there for my husband for the last ten years. I truly believe that you don't have to resign yourself to the "idea" of ADD. I don't expect him to become a highly functional individual. I don't expect him to change. I do expect him to try to understand how this is affecting him and our relationship.

I don't have the emotional energy to do it anymore.I am frustrated when I hear things like this. In my own situation, my wife "does for me" that which I do not need her to do, to the point of exhaustion, and seems to REFUSE to do that which I MUST have done for me. That which I could do to relieve time and energy demands from her she refuses to let me do for her, while expecting and demanding that I do the impossible for me to do, and do so reliably.

Wasted effort, not the amount, is the real casualty here, in my mind.

And as i write this, actually, things have already improved. But my statements are true to the past, and even the present.

Riding a bicycle is exhausting when one first starts because of all the "overcontrol." When someone who can ride says "you are working too hard at it" it is true, but unhelpful. (What is helpful?)

Many non-ADD souses seem to "work too hard at it" while not doing the "less and easier" stuff that would relieve everyone of so much angst.

The "right way" really is easier.

But just as with the bicycle rider, how does one "teach" how not to over control, and do "it" the easier, not over controlled way?


I can't help him if he doesn't want to help himself.

Sure you "can" but perhaps you should not.

A few weeks ago, I told him it was over. That we needed to separate and to move on. The next morning I realized that I didn't know who he could be until we found the proper help. I spent an entire day surfing the Net and finding resources in our area. I found a few support groups. I found a few doctors. I found another discussion list. I sent all of this to my husband with a note telling him I needed him to find the proper help. He did decide to go to one of the meetings but it was supposed to be weekly and we found out it had been changed. In the meantime, he did not call any of the doctors. When he told me he hadn't, I got angry and the same fights started all over.

In my communications with various other non-ADD spouses, I have found that many ADDers marry strong and productive spouses. This was the one trait that my husband said he was attracted to when we met. Today, it is the one part of my personality which annoys him. It is often assumed by the ADD partner that the non-ADD spouse wants "them" to change to fit their needs. I don't think that the ADDers realize how much the non-ADD partner has to change in order to adapt to them.

I am not the same person I was 20, 15, or 10 years ago. Many of those changes have taken place because of maturity, experience, and life. That is what we do as humans - we adapt. Many of my changes in the last ten years are directly related to my marriage. Many are good changes although my husband would think that I think I have changed only in a bad way because of him. That is not true - I have learned a lot about myself because of the ADD. I want to live life to its fullest. I want to learn and change with the times. I want to have fun and make new friends. I want to have no regrets and I want to learn from my mistakes.

I am sure my husband wants the same thing. The difference is I will make it happen and my husband will think about making it happen. Is that a fair statement? Probably not. I need balance in my life and right now there is no balance. Is that my husband's fault? No. Is it my fault? No. It is the reality. He has ADD. I do not. Many ADDers will tell me to let him be. To accept him for who he is. I'm sorry but that is a cop out. I don't even settle for letting myself be who I am - I thrive on wanting to learn more and to experience more. Sure, he has ADD and sure it is not as simple as saying "do it." The fact is you can have a productive and full life even if you have ADD. I am not saying that I want him to live his life the way I would want him to. I am saying that I know what I want out of my life.

Maybe that makes me a cold and uncaring person. I have spent the last ten years of my life giving all the love and support that I could. I know that I am a good person. I know that I have been there for him. I know that I have been a good wife. I know that it is not easy for him. It is not easy for me, either.

Elizabeth
I wanted to comment on this, but i did not want to do so in the "Non-ADD" area...

1) not changing the ADD PERSON's ADD does not mean not changing the results, situation, etc.

2) participating in the solution is not required - by either partner... it is conceibable that the non-ADHD partner might be able to "orchestrate" successful outcomes without the participation of the ADD partner, but that would more likely be evidence of a bad investment of time and effort, or evidence of manipulation or even exploitation. IMHO

Being engaged in making things better seems to be a minimum evidence of support for others to do so as well.

And there is no requirement that the non-ADHD partner "help."

In the case where one or neither partner is not engaged, is there a relationship, or is it less than that... just a coincidence?

Even after the commitment exists to improve things, how to improve things becomes a looming issue.

I was also amazed at how often through Elizabeths recounting of her tale, I identified with her plight, rather than the ADDers plight. A curious, to me, variability in the combinations of features that make up marriages involving ADHD.

Elizabethizme:

I invite your comment on my comments to your post in my thread. (And all non-ADD spouses etc. are also invited to respond here.)

Last edited by Wheel1975; 01-08-04 at 10:30 AM..
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Old 01-08-04, 11:55 AM
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David,
I am an ADDer with a non ADD spouse. I would like to comment on this. When I 1st read this I to identified with Elizabeth and not the ADD spouse. But after having read this several times I am convinced that there are more issues than just Elizabeths. She sounds very similar to my wife and her spouse sounds a lot like me. I think part of the problems involved in a non ADD-ADD relationship is the different ways the brains work and how they interpet things.

I can see how Elizabeth thought she was helping by pointing out all the things her husband could do to change. I can also see where her spouse could be very hurt by her wanting to make all the changes because she felt he was not pulling his weight. Just because she thought he was not giving 100 percent in the relationship did not mean he was not giving all he had.

As I have posted in this forum I am having a lot of problems in my own marriage due to ADD vs Non ADD. My wife is very organized type A person and I am very laid back. Our relationship has come down to me just trying not to make her mad instead of me loving her the way I am capable. She also feels she does everything and I do nothing. She also does things I could do well and expects me to be reliable doing things I fail at. When this happens she gets upset and says I don't care about her.

As I have stated in the past I beleive that ADD is very hard for individuals who do not have to understand. I think people who are organized and very type A have an even harder time understanding the ADD mind. They think it is as simple as make a plan and follow it. I know my ADD does not work that way. The more I am told I have to do something the less inclined I am to do it.
I think the hardest part for me so far is that I am trying to change the way my wife wants me to change and not nessisarily change the way that will help me to do things I can be very good at. I think this is the case with Elizabeth and her spouse. Once you get into a pattern it is very hard to change for both spouses. Each spuse feels like they are being taken advantage of and also feels like they are the ones who are being hurt.

I did not mean to interpet things for elizbeth. I soemtimes get carried away.
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Old 01-08-04, 12:54 PM
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One practical suggestion that is starting to pay dividends for me n my wife: A large calendar in the kitchen with daily tasks and appoitments (mostly aimed at me for obvious reasons). Start the day by reviewing what is going to happen today and do a look forward at the near future. I need to paint a picture of the future in my mind so that I'm not overwhelmed and frustrated when it becomes the present. Yeah I have access to electronic organizers and other such devices - but there's nothing like a little morning planning meeting to set the day in motion. Disclaimer: YMMV.
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Old 01-08-04, 01:00 PM
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Why,
I do have a list now that I go over every AM. That has helped a lot. It is the things you cannot put on the list that seem to cause problems. How I react to conflicts and how I listen and interpet what I hear are the big issues.
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Old 01-08-04, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Biking
David,
I am an ADDer with a non ADD spouse. I would like to comment on this.

Our relationship has come down to me just trying not to make her mad instead of me loving her the way I am capable. She also feels she does everything and I do nothing. She also does things I could do well and expects me to be reliable doing things I fail at. When this happens she gets upset and says I don't care about her.

They think it is as simple as make a plan and follow it. I know my ADD does not work that way. The more I am told I have to do something the less inclined I am to do it.

I think the hardest part for me so far is that I am trying to change the way my wife wants me to change

and not necessarily change the way that will help me to do things I can be very good at.

I did not mean to interpet things for elizbeth. I soemtimes get carried away.
Ok.

This I will consent to having tattooed on my forehead!

The stuff i cut out was good too...

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Old 01-08-04, 01:26 PM
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nothing like a little morning planning

(with a human?)

and...

It is the things you cannot put on the list that seem to cause problems.

How I react to conflicts

and how I listen and interpet what I hear are the big issues.


Yep. yep. yep.

So now what?
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Old 01-08-04, 01:38 PM
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David,
That is the problem. Now what? This is the huge problem for us and I think a lot of couples in my situation. The frustration level becomes so high on the part of the Type A that everytime I fix one problem another one develops. Also I cannot seem to fix more than a couple things at a time and then some of the thing I fix revert back to the annoying way.
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Old 01-08-04, 01:40 PM
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you react to "conflicts and unexpecteds" with the "as best as I can" within the existing plan - execute the plan first (keeping in mind that there are priorities that even ADDers can recognize, and if you can't make a flowchart to take with you) Dave - as a programer you must build error handling routines - that's what we need as ADDers to handle "conflicts and unexpecteds" - a logical construct that will guide us on how much intellectual and temporal capital to expand based on the "level" of the crisis. Once again the river/canoe theory comes in play because ADDers tend to oversteer in their reactions to these anomalies - execute the plan first and don't over work the unexpecteds, they can (in many cases) be incorporated into tommorows plan.
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Old 01-08-04, 01:57 PM
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I am talking about more of what happens when conflict arise in the relationship than doing tasks. In my opinion and in the rut we have gotten into I often don't react the right way and I have tried many different ways. What is the river canoe theory?
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Old 01-08-04, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by why
you react to "conflicts and unexpecteds" with the "as best as I can" within the existing plan - execute the plan first (keeping in mind that there are priorities that even ADDers can recognize, and if you can't make a flowchart to take with you) Dave - as a programer you must build error handling routines - that's what we need as ADDers to handle "conflicts and unexpecteds" - a logical construct that will guide us on how much intellectual and temporal capital to expand based on the "level" of the crisis. Once again the river/canoe theory comes in play because ADDers tend to oversteer in their reactions to these anomalies - execute the plan first and don't over work the unexpecteds, they can (in many cases) be incorporated into tommorows plan.
Yep but when the error table itself is mis-contructed, so All errors map to the same number, or some errors don't map to an entry at all, use of that table becomes useless.
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Old 01-08-04, 03:50 PM
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Do you expect that one day someone will write the perfect app? No, we're not talking about error elimination but rather amelioration - "as best as you can".

Biking - The canoe/river theory is just a little idea i have about how to deal with my ADD/OCD I expressed it here:

http://www.addforums.com/forums/show...6443#post26443

and here:

http://www.addforums.com/forums/show...6473#post26473
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Old 01-08-04, 04:03 PM
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Thanks why. I seem to keep running into the big rocks lately. I try to hard to avoid the rocks completely and end up almost sinking the canoe. I alway fix and get back in. I am just not navigating the river well right now.
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Old 01-08-04, 04:14 PM
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I know what you mean Biking, been there lots of times. Now, I don't try to avoid the conflict, I just try and make sure that it's not a show-stopper. Most of the time, it seems that these things dissapated with far less vehemence than I imagined - which is nice because it's like positive reenforcement to try it again next time.
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Old 01-08-04, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by why
I know what you mean Biking, been there lots of times. Now, I don't try to avoid the conflict, I just try and make sure that it's not a show-stopper. Most of the time, it seems that these things dissapated with far less vehemence than I imagined - which is nice because it's like positive reenforcement to try it again next time.
We get to agree completely on something!

Just thought I'd say so!

Hurrah!

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Old 01-09-04, 12:28 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by why
Do you expect that one day someone will write the perfect app?

Yep. Prepare your incredulous look, you'll need it right ... now. I've done it. I beleive in it. Applications are finite things that run on finite machines under regular rules and in my view there is no excuse or reason for writing "imperfect" code for a release.

No, we're not talking about error elimination but rather amelioration - "as best as you can".

Biking - The canoe/river theory is just a little idea i have about how to deal with my ADD/OCD I expressed it here:

http://www.addforums.com/forums/show...6443#post26443

and here:

http://www.addforums.com/forums/show...6473#post26473 [/b][/quote]

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